Sometimes, amid all the super rich, chocolatey desserts out there, a person just wants a fresh tasting, fluffy Lemon Meringue Pie for dessert. Okay, I’ll admit – nutrition-wise, there is nothing “light” about this pie. But it tastes lighter than a lot of the desserts floating around the net. It goes perfectly with an outdoor meal of grilled meat or fish – like, maybe for this coming long weekend.
I make my graham cracker crust the same as I do for my smores pie, but I changed up the meringue recipe a little bit. Also, I make my lemon filling differently than most lemon meringue pie recipes would. I make mine like you would a key lime pie, which I have not blogged about yet. Maybe someday. Anyway…this type of filling is very simple – only 3 ingredients needed. Lemons (for the zest and juice), sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue of course).
There is no boiling or tempering needed – just whisk the ingredients together, let it sit for a bit, then bake it in the pie crust.The result is a sweet and tart but slightly creamy tasting, lemony filling. And not much could be easier.
Then comes the meringue. I toned down the sweetness a bit for this one, to avoid overwhelming the lemon flavor. Whatever you do, make sure you spread the meringue all the way to the edges of the pie plate to avoid it shrinking. A quick trip into the oven again and you get nicely browned peaks of meringue on top of your beautiful pie. Now it just needs to hang out in the fridge awhile and it’ll be ready for your cookout. Happy long weekend!
- Lemon Filling:
- 4 large egg yolks
- 4 tsp grated lemon zest from 1 large lemon
- 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup lemon juice from 2-3 lemons, or bottled
- 8 pieces whole graham crackers broken into
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter melted and cooled
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- Meringue topping:
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 4 large egg whites at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- pinch salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Whisk egg yolks and lemon zest together in a small bowl until creamy yellow in color, about 2 minutes. Whisk in sweetened condensed milk until smooth, then whisk in the lemon juice. Cover mixture and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. While you are waiting, begin preparing crust.
Move oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325°F. Process graham pieces in a food processor (or crush in a zipper bag with a rolling pin) until they resemble sand. Stir in butter and sugar until mixture is uniform and resembles wet sand.
Press graham mixture into a 9-9.5" pie plate using your hands or the bottom of a dry measure. Bake until crust is fragrant and starting to brown, about 15 minutes. Pour lemon pie filling into crust while it is still warm. Bake until center is firm, but has a slight jiggle when you shake it, about 15 minutes.
With oven rack still at middle position, heat oven to 400°F. Mix sugar and water together in a small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat and continue cooking until mixture reaches 235°F. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, add egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Whip on medium speed until foamy, about 2-3 minutes. Increase speed to medium high and continue whipping until soft peaks form, 1-3 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium-low and slowly add hot syrup, being careful to avoid the whisk. Add vanilla and turn mixer to medium-high. Continue to mix until mixture is slightly cooled, thick and shiny, 3-6 minutes.
Gently spread meringue over the lemon filling, being careful to spread the meringue all the way to the edges of the pie plate. Dollop the top of the meringue with a spatula to create decorative peaks. Bake until peaks are golden brown, 5-7 minutes. Chill until lemon filling is set, at least 2 hours.